Survey result 2012

7th Annual Child Care Survey Results

  • Parents Sick Of Paying Through The Nose For Child Care
  • A Quarter of Working Mums are Losing Money
  • Parents Want: Child Care To Be Tax Deductible & The Nanny Rebate

The seventh independent national Child Care And Workforce Participation Survey undertaken by has revealed that parents are paying more for child care than ever before and almost a quarter of working mums are actually losing money.

Almost all parents (93%) believe child care should be tax deductible and yes, Tony, 84% of parents think registered nannies deserve the same rebate status as “approved” child care!

The survey taken by 1773 working parents¹ (98% mums), the majority of whom have pre-school children currently in child care.

Child Care Statistics – Grandparents And Nannies Increase As Does The Time Children Spend In Child Care Almost half of working parents (46% - up from 42%) with pre school children have children in child care for over eight hours per day; a further 38% between 7-8 hours per day.

Almost a quarter (24%) have children in care 5 days per week; with 43% having children in care three days (the most popular number of days to have a child in care is 3). The most likely age to start in child care being 7-12 months (44% put their children in to child care between 7-12 months old).

In terms of the type of child care used, the majority – 78% - have children in a child care centre; while 10% use a nanny or au pair; 8% have kids in pre-school; 18% rely on grandparents or other family members (up from last year by 3%), and 11% use family day care.

Finding child care is still extremely frustrating with 36% describing the experience of finding child care as “difficult”, 20.5% “extremely difficult and frustrating”, and while 35% took only 1-2 months to find child care, 31% took at least six months and 16% were searching for over 12 months and 19% were unable to find their first choice type of child care service.

Parents Paying More Than Ever & A Quarter Of Mums Say They’re Losing Money At WorkAlmost half of parents (47%) paying over $300 per week on child care (before rebate/child care benefit) – this is an increase of 7% from last year; 24% pay $200-300.

With the high cost of child care it’s not surprising that although 78% of mums went back to work because of financial necessity although 24% say being back at work actually isn’t financially viable and 30% say that financial juggling was one of the hardest things about going back to work.

And while 24% of parents believe child care should be not for profit, but 60% don’t mind either way as long as it’s good quality.

One thing’s for sure, the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate makes a huge difference with 83% saying the CCB and CCR make a significant impact to affordability of child care. But the government could go one step further, as 93% think that all child care should be tax deductible.

Child Care Rebate Still A Point Of ConfusionParents are pretty evenly split in terms of being eligible for child care benefit or not, with 47% being eligible for Child Care Benefit while 42% are not.

And while 73% know they can register for Child Care Rebate even though they’re not eligible for CCB, 27% still don’t realize that, meaning 27% of families may still be missing out on the CCR due to lack of understanding.

Financial Necessity Top Reason For Return To WorkFinancial necessity still tops the list for the main reason for going back to work at 76% of working mums. However 31% go back for independence; 28% for career progression and 16% from boredom at being at home!

The hardest thing about going back to work is still “Motherguilt” with 55% feeling the pressure of leaving their babies; this guilt is followed by the difficulty of daily logisitics (53%), finding child care (37%) and juggling finances / tax implications of returning to work (31%).

Quality Of Child CareTwo thirds (68%) of parents think the standard of child care they receive is excellent – with great carers and facilities.  However almost a third (31% - 3% more than last year) rated their child care service as “average”.

Awareness of the new National Quality Framework is low - 42% don’t actually know what the NQF is. Of those who do know about it, 25% think it will lead to much better standard of child care; 29% agree with the new ratios of staff to children and 34% agree with the need for more qualified staff. That said, 30% of mums are worried that the new National Quality Framework will mean even higher child care costs.

For the most part, parents are happy to pay late fees and believe these to be fair (70%), but paying for public holidays is a real sore point with 76% of parents believing this practice to be very unfair.

Employers Are Getting Better, But Almost Half Are Only Half-Hearted In Their Approach To Working Parents!Employers are trying to help working families, but still have a way to go. Our survey revealed that 9% of parents say their employers “were completely inflexible to parents in general”, 48% are flexible to a point, but not really fully supportive and 42% are very flexible and supportive of working parents.

However while 39% are “Pretty flexible and treat Dads and Mums the same in terms of their child care issues”, 41% are less flexible with Dads than with Mums.

Which probably accounts for why 57% of respondents said that Mum still does the main load of dealing with child care issues, pick up, drop off and doctors appointments, although 33% said that there was equal share of the responsibilities between Mum and Dad.

Employer responsibility also means taking working mums seriously. The survey revealed 26% of working mums say they feel less valued at work than they did before having babies and 29% feel stigmatized by employers and colleagues for not taking working responsibilities seriously enough.

¹Sample: 1773. Australia wide (98% women).  85% use child care due to work commitments. 79% have children currently in some form of child care. 14% are looking for child care or intend to have their child in care in the near future.

View results from other years: